Talking Points: should airlines ban laptops from passenger cabins for safety reasons?

Talking Points: should airlines ban laptops from passenger cabins for safety reasons?

Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

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Do laptops pose a threat on aeroplanes, or should passengers be allowed to use them while on board?
Photo: SCMP

Heidi Tsang Chiu, 15, PLK Ma Kam Ming College

I don’t think it’s a good idea. Banning laptops from passenger cabins will inconvenience a lot of people. Many use their laptops to work on the go, and even when they travel, they still need to stay in touch with their colleagues or clients. A laptop helps them to jot down notes, to prepare presentations, and to work remotely when they are not at their desk.

Instead of banning laptops, passengers should be reminded to not use any electronic devices when the plane is taking off, during turbulence, or when landing.


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Rhea Li, 14, SKH Lam Kau Mow Secondary School

Yes, I think so. Using your laptop might interfere with the aeroplane’s communication and navigation systems. This puts the passengers’ lives at risk. Many of us want to have a safe journey. I don’t think anyone would like to take the blame if any disaster happens. So why don’t we avoid all these problems? And one of the simplest ways of doing this is to ban laptops. Sure, work is important, but being alive is obviously a lot more important.


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Arthur Lo, 14, SKH Lam Kau Mow Secondary School

There were fears that terrorists were making bombs that could be hidden in portable electronic devices. To protect against such threats, the American government banned passengers from bringing laptops in the cabins of aeroplanes flying into the US from airports in 10 Muslim-majority countries. Although the ban was later lifted, I understand why it was introduced.

However, a determined terrorist wouldn’t be deterred by a laptop ban. They could soon develop tiny devices that could blow up a plane in mid-air. To guarantee their safety, I believe passengers should not be allowed to take any electronic item into the cabins.


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Kelvin Kwan Ka-kit, 15, SKH Leung Kwai Yee Secondary School

No, definitely not. Imagine the disruption this would cause for people all over the world. Many airlines now have Wi-fi on board, which helps passengers to stay connected with friends, family, or business partners. Banning laptops from passenger cabins is not the way to counter terrorist threats. The answer lies in improved security at airports.

As long as people carrying laptops go through stringent screening before boarding, I don’t see why the devices should be banned.


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Joanna Tsang, 16, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

Passengers would face a lot of inconvenience if they were banned from bringing laptops into the cabin. There is a risk of theft or damage if laptops are included in check-in luggage. Then passengers would be forced to back up all their data on external hard drives before they fly – who has time for that?

Also, laptops might not be covered by travel insurance if they have been checked in.

So is a laptop ban a good idea? My answer is no. If there is an on-board explosion, it doesn’t matter whether a laptop is in the cabin or in the hold. I feel that carry-on bags are subjected to closer scrutiny than luggage anyway.


In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:

Do people post their New Year’s resolutions on social media because they really want to improve, or just for the “likes”?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to yp@scmp.com by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.

Edited by Ginny Wong

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Should airlines ban laptops from passenger cabins for safety reasons?

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